Are Israeli English-language news sites supporting or undermining Israel?
How much balanced reporting is there on Israeli English-language mainstream news sites? Last week, the Jerusalem Post published an article with the following title and snippet:
Israeli violence against Palestinians, IDF skyrockets in West Bank
Despite the high number of attacks, only 113 arrests were made and 101 investigations were opened. There were only 28 indictments filed.
Let’s stop for a moment and look at this.
First of all, WEST BANK? I thought we were beyond the stage at which Israelis and Israeli media referred to Judea and Samaria by the name Jordan assigned to the Israel’s heartland during the years of the Jordanian occupation. I have got used to seeing “West Bank” in brackets for readers who don’t know that the area is Judea and Samaria. To see it in a title on an Israeli news site is unsettling. It gives legitimacy to the use of this term, a term that erases Jewish history in the region.
When they write about Israeli violence against Palestinians and the IDF, they are, of course, referring to Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria — the settlers leftists demonize in the hope of getting Israel to vacate Judea and Samaria under the delusion that creating another Arab state in our neighbourhood, and this one in our heartland, will bring peace.
Despite the high number of documented attacks, 838, there were only 113 arrests of Jews in 101 investigations and only 28 indictments handed down. The article never once suggests possible reasons why there were only 28 indictments: lack of sufficient evidence? evidence suggesting that those arrested were actually innocent? investigations still ongoing? The way it is put here, it seems as if Israel is being discriminatory in their policing of Judea and Samaria.
The article also lists a number of particular instances of Jewish violence, but does not give any hint of the daily violence committed against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria by their Arab neighbours. Then, remarkably, the article states:
The military’s ongoing operations in the West Bank have been the deadliest since 2016, with 136 Palestinians killed in the past year
“Deadliest”? This is how they characterize operations that set out to apprehend terrorists who either committed or were known to be planning to commit acts of terrorism? Sounds like the writer of this article, Anna Ahronheim, and Tovah Lazaroff who contributed to it, think this is a bad thing for the IDF to be doing.
A major problem in reporting on instances of Jewish violence against Palestinians — in this article and most others — is that there is generally no context provided. I am not referring to cases of vigilantism or revenge on the part of Jews who are frustrated by the lack of security forces’ responses to Arab violence, whether that is stone-throwing, molotov-cocktail throwing or destruction of agricultural crops because I do not support vigilantism.
I am referring to cases in which the Jews were defending themselves against attacks at the time of the attack. In one case, the Israeli leadership maligned the Jews of Havat Maon because B’Tselem said that they committed a ‘pogrom’ against the illegal Arab squatters (not how THEY referred to the Arabs, of course). I did some investigation into what happened on that day and found out that it was most likely a case of Arab incitement against the Jewish youth who decided not to run away like frightened rabbits and to stone those who were stoning them. Of course, the only videos that made it onto the social media were those of the Jews defending themselves and without context so that they could be accused of criminal violence.
In another, more recent, case — in Hawara, the Arab town in the news lately, a town Jewish residents in the region must drive through to get home or from home to other parts of the country — it was a Jewish man defending himself who was detained even though the soldiers could see that the Arabs had blocked the junction and were throwing stones at the Jews. You can read about the discriminatory treatment of this resident of Yizhar here. I have not verified this man’s account, but such accounts must be part of the otherwise one-sided reporting on violence in Judea and Samaria.
Out of curiousity, I Googled a sentence from the JPost article under discussion here: “838 attacks against Palestinians.” These are the titles of the other articles that came up in the search:
- IDF records ‘steep rise’ in settler attacks against Palestinians – Middle East Monitor. (Their staff seems to be a combination of Arab and British antisemites.)
- Israeli security agencies concerned over rise in settler violence in West Bank – Al-Monitor. (Israeli journalist Ben Caspit writes for them and Rina Bassist, who also writes for the Jerusalem Post is a senior editor at Al-Monitor. This article was written by Israeli journalist, Lilach Shoval.)
- Sharp rise in number of violent attacks in West Bank this year, Israeli army says – Haaretz.
- IDF says West Bank raids foiled 500 terror attacks over past year – Times of Israel.
- Israel’s army: 500 terror attacks thwarted in past year – i24 News.
Interestingly, Haaretz presents a balanced picture, in the title and the snippet (aside from using the term West Bank) and in the first paragraph of the article:
The number of violent acts committed by Israelis against Palestinians and against Israeli security forces in the West Bank has doubled this year in comparison to last year, while the number of violent acts by Palestinians against Israeli citizens and security forces in the West Bank has tripled in the same period, according to data released on Monday by the IDF. [emphasis added]
Both Times of Israel and i24 News started their articles discussing the increase in Palestinian terror against Jews and then reported on the increase in violence against Palestinians.
Did other English language newspapers in Israel not report on this issue at all?
While not specifically referring to the IDF report on violence in Judea and Samaria, Israel National News wrote in the same time period that US Ambassador Thomas Nides announced that “settler violence” has to end but that Israel has the right to defend herself; furthermore, Nides states that he does not make any equivalence between Palestinian and Jewish violence. “They’re two separate issues,” he says.
I did not find articles on this subject on other Israeli English-language news sites, such as Israel Hayom, ynetnews, or Maariv, or on international news sites.
It is well known that Israeli news sites provide fodder for international reporting on Israel, and sometimes they are even used as source material for academic articles. When our own journalists and editors do not offer a balanced picture, we cannot blame other countries for keeping up the slanted coverage against our state.
h/t – Matt Solomon
Feature Image Credit: pixabay.com
Excellent analysis – as usual.